Putative tit rub

I was talking to my editor today about the proofs of ‘Something of The Night.’

‘The proof reader,’ he said to me, ‘has an issue with the phrase ‘putative tit rub.’

‘Oh?’ I said. ‘What’s the problem?’

‘Well, he says he thinks you’ve misused ‘putative.’ He says that it means, ‘commonly regarded as being”. He thinks ‘anticipated’ would be better.’

‘Really?’ I said, reaching for my Collins. ‘But I took it to mean, ‘inferred to exist without evidence. But OK, if that’s what the proof reader thinks..’

‘And he wants you to hypenate ‘tit-rub.’

‘Does he?’

‘He thinks it more correct.’

So it’s become ‘anticipated tit-rub. ‘ I never would have guessed that one little phrase could cause so much debate.

 

14 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    Well if anything is up for debate, tits are always a good topic right?

  2. Colin Midson says:

    Message from editor:
    “Putative” restored!
    “Tit-rub” still hyphenated.

  3. Catherine Fox says:

    You’re right. Let’s offer another course, because this needs looking into. ‘Anticipated’ isn’t right. I offer you ‘quasi-mythological’. That gets you two hyphenated words in one phrase.

  4. Ian Marchant says:

    I think we did. Wasn’t it more tit-rub than putative, though?

  5. Catherine Fox says:

    Didn’t we devote an entire Arvon course to this subject?

  6. Ian Marchant says:

    I think I should have stuck with ‘putative.’It best describes the reality of the, dear god alive, 37 years ago thing itself. ‘Anticipated’ might imply that it had come to be. Putative is funnier, too.
    But the hyphenation can stand?

  7. Hilary Marchant says:

    er, and for the record, this part of the book is set in the long-distant past before I had met Ian, so what he did with his hyphens was nothing to do with me.

  8. Bob says:

    Won’t Ian give you one, Chas?

  9. Chas Ambler says:

    I’ve often anticipated a tit-rub myself – and been sorely disappointed.

  10. Clare Stevens says:

    Really don’t see how the proof-reader gets from ‘commonly inferred as being’ to ‘anticipated’. Agree with Dru about the appeal of being wrong bu wromantic and if you’re allowed to use the word you originaly chose the reader can infer whatever they like as to its meaning. For the record, I would define ‘putative’ as something ‘being presented for consideration as, but without proof/evidence’.
    And incidentally, while on the object of Collins, I was surprisd to find that my mum’s subsantial edition of it didn’t include the word ‘subfusc’, which I felt had been misused in an article in the Guardian mag. Thanks to Google I now know it wasn’t misused – I’d only seen it in the context of academic dress, but the author was apparently quite entitled to use it to mean ‘dark and dingy’ in the context of describing a room. Do wish Collins could have told me this, however.

  11. Dru says:

    OED’s other synonyms for ‘putative’ appear to agree with your intention- “imagined; postulated, hypothetical” …. more importantly, to me, ‘putative’ sounds better. And better to be wrong but wromantic than right and even slightly revolting….

  12. Bob says:

    Agree wholeheartedly on ‘tit-rub’, but I confess I find ‘inferred to exist’ troublesome. ‘Assumed to exist’? ‘Taken to exist’?

  13. Bob says:

    a little context wouldn’t hurt…

  14. Hilary Marchant says:

    So glad that this phrase has finally been subjected to this level of scrutiny…about time too.

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